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Montana Gov. Steve Bullock on Thursday vetoed a bill that would bar workers compensation benefits for injured workers who made a false statement about medical conditions relevant to their job requirements.
S.B. 116, introduced by state Sen. Mark Blasdel, R-Kalispell, and passed by the Senate in March, would have eliminated all wage-loss or medical benefits if “the employee knowingly or willingly, by omission or commission, makes a false representation regarding the employee's physical condition that is relevant to the essential functions of the job; the employer relies on the false representation and that reliance is a contributing factor in the hiring of the employee; and there is a causal connection between the falsely represented condition and the injury or occupational disease for which wage-loss or medical benefits are claimed,” according to the latest bill text.
“An individual’s private medical information is one of their most protected privacy interests, under both state and federal law. The conditions under which a worker is required to provide medical information to a prospective employer must be handled with that privacy right clearly defined and respected at the outset. S.B. 116 does not accomplish that task, is unnecessary, and will increase costs of litigation under both the Workers Compensation Act and under the Human Rights Act,” Gov. Bullock said in his veto text.
If signed, the law would have gone into effect July 1.
Less than a month after the introduction a Florida bill that would provide workers compensation coverage for first responders with post-traumatic stress disorder, a separate bill is making its rounds in the state Senate that aims to reduce hurdles for police officers and firefighters claiming mental injuries.